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Ask Gov. Cuomo to Invest Now in Clean Water

We need you to raise your voice now to ensure we can make critical investments today in clean water infrastructure that will protect future generations.

It has been 50 years since New York voters approved the $1 billion Pure Water Bond Act, at a time when statewide needs for sewer infrastructure spending was estimated at $1.7 billion. At that time, New York State emerged as a leader in promoting clean water, acting several years before Congress passed the Clean Water Act.

Today, the need for both investment and New York’s leadership are even greater, and we’re urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to apply a significant one-time allocation from the $5 billion Wall Street legal settlement to wastewater infrastructure in the 2015-2016 New York State budget. Why?

  • An estimated $36 billion investment in New York State wastewater is needed over 20 years.
  • Water infrastructure in 60% of Hudson Valley cities, towns and villages needs significant work or is “at risk of imminent failure,” according to responses to a Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress survey.
  • Nearly 150 municipally owned wastewater treatment plants in New York State discharge 171 million gallons of wastewater that does not undergo disinfection before reaching our creeks, streams, lakes and rivers. The estimated cost of upgrading these plants is $215 million.
  • The DEC’s Division of Water’s non-personnel budget is less than one-third of its level three decades ago. The division would need an additional $7 million to give it the purchasing power it had then.
  • When we fail to invest in our wastewater infrastructure, water quality suffers – and people get sick. The most common cause of illness from contact during water recreation is the presence of untreated sewage. Riverkeeper’s ongoing water quality monitoring project shows that levels of contamination frequently exceed federal safe-swimming guidelines in many parts of the Hudson River and its tributaries.

Help us make the case for spending on this critical community need in the coming year. Please contact Gov. Cuomo today, and ask him to make a significant new investment in clean water.

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